The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,459
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Movie Info

This Danish comedy-drama is about some Copenhagen eccentrics who find therapeutic release in acting like idiots. Restaurant patrons are disturbed by the group's mischief, but Karen finds it intriguing. Eventually the group decides to let idiocy invade their daily lives, but only Karen will take that challenge.

Cast

Jens Albinus
as Stoffer
Louise Mieritz
as Josephine
Paprika Steen
as High-Class Lady
Erik Wedersøe
as Stoffer's Uncle
Michael Moritzen
as Man From Municipality
Anders Hove
as Josephine's Father
Jan Elle
as Waiter
Claus Strandberg
as Guide at Factory
Jens Jørn Spottag
as Boss at Advertising Agency
John Martinus
as Man in Morning-Jacket
Lars Bjarke
as Rocker No. 1
Ewald Larsen
as Rocker No. 2
Christian Friis
as Rocker No. 3
Louise B. Clausen
as Rocker Girl
Hans Henrik Clemensen
as Karen's Husband, Anders
Lone Lindorff
as Karen's Mother
Erno Muller
as Karen's Grandfather
Regitze Estrup
as Karen's Sister, Louise
Lotte Munk
as Karen's Sister, Britta
Marina Bouras
as Axel's Wife
Julie Wieth
as Woman with Two Kids
Kirsten Vaupel
as Art Class Lady No. 1
Lillian Tillegreen
as Art Class Lady No. 2
Birgit Conradi
as Art Class Lady No. 3
Albert Wickmann
as High-Class Man
Peter Froge
as Man in the Swimming Pool
Bent Sorensen
as Taxi Driver
Jesper Sonderaas
as Svendsen at Advertising Agency
Ditlev Weddelsborg
as Severin at Advertising Agency
Iris Alboge
as Qualified Carer
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News & Interviews for The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95)

Critic Reviews for The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95)

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95)

  • May 09, 2014
    As if "Epidemic" didn't have an obvious enough title, this film's title just goes ahead and lets you know how exactly Lars von Trier seems to feel about human beings. At the very least, it makes this film sound like a sitcom or something, something that it probably is, that is, for someone as disturbed as Lars von Trier. Shoot, I joke, but idiots and sitcoms go together like a Lars von Trier film and a deep reassessment on your views of humanity, so maybe this technically is a sitcom, only, you know, not nearly as popular as the usual one. Maybe this thing would have stood a chance of being a huge commercial success if it featured people like Emily Watson or Björk... neither of whom made this film's fellow "Golden Heart Trilogy" installments, "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark", especially bit commercial successes. Still, those films are, in fact, more popular, and quite honestly, I can't help but feel that it's largely because where "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark" were in English that was about as comprehensive as a Scottish Emily Watson and a Czech Björk could make it, this film is Danish, because, you know, a Danish-language middle installment worked so well for von Trier's "Europa" trilogy. You people probably don't know what I'm talking about, because "Epidemic" was by no means memorable, partly because it's title wasn't too much less creative than this film's. Now, this film itself, however, is about as interesting as "Epidemic", despite its carrying a few intriguing traits, or at least intriguing performances. Interestingly enough, the film is largely about folks pretending to be developmentally retarded, but the problem with that, outside of it being a premise that is too weird for its own good, the performances are perhaps more convincing than they ought to be, defining impressive transformative performances, as surely as the occasional dramatic note defines near-powerful performances. On the whole, there's not a whole lot of material for the performers to work with, for there is only so much material to begin with, yet the fact of the matter is that competence is consistent in the performers, and by no means completely absent from Lars von Trier's performances, even as screenwriter. Abstractionist something awful and reportedly completed within four days, von Trier's script is by no means anything to write home about on the whole, but it has its moments, with occasions of clever dialogue, and even a few colorful set pieces which actually proves to be sort of entertaining, or at least complimentary to the selling of questionable subject matter. Obviously, this film isn't that interesting, as it is generally misguided as an abstractionist drama whose weird premise is far from its most disconcertingly strange aspect, but there's a certain intrigue to its sheer, gutsy originality, alone, and its themes on social criticism are also unique and intriguing, with conceptual narrative potential that goes firmly betrayed in a lot of ways by an overtly experimental execution. That being said, no matter how artistically misguided, von Trier's direction has its commendable aspects, utilizing an intentionally amateur and naturalist visual style that, while technically questionable to the point of being aesthetically distancing, is refreshing and rather immersive, while also meeting occasions of genuine material with a thoughtfulness that draws out some adequate resonance. Mind you, von Trier never abandons the thoughtfulness, so when material lapses, as it ever so often does, the film crashes as near-tedious, and it's not like the heights in inspiration are all that soaring, because the film is too minimalist to be all that impressive at any point, yet the strengths stand. Alas, they cannot drive the final product beyond mediocrity that is actually kind of lucky to achieve, having its strengths and intrigue, but generally falling flat, even technically. Falling firm into the Dogme '95 Manifesto which demands hyper naturalism and extreme minimalism to, if any filmmaking flare, the film is among the first shot entirely on digital, and in an amateur, very home video fashion at that, with noisy and cinematographically flat video quality which, while immersive in its naturalism, is aesthetically and subjectively questionable in its distancing simplicity. Of course, the film's visual style is not the only problematic form of style here, because it's storytelling, of all things, that is most overstylized, with an intentionally disjointed and unfocused narrative style that abstractly meanders along, saying little, even about its characters. No matter how convincing the performers are, there's not much to sell the characters who stand centered at what focus there is to this intimate film, as immediate development is barely present, while gradual exposition proves to be lacking, and character focus proves to be uneven, keeping you distant from characters who are disconcerting enough in their questionable, if not unlikable traits. The premise behind this film isn't all that believable, and that makes it hard to buy in on Lars von Trier's trademark themes on humanity deconstruction, even though you might would have stood a chance of getting invested in this character study if more was fleshed out. Of course, as much as the film tightens things up by thinning out exposition, when it drags, it drags something fierce, for although there was never to be too much material in this aggressively minimalist affair, a runtime of almost two hours is meandered to with the help of exhaustingly repetitious filler, if not sheer nothingness that is tedious enough on paper. Von Trier makes things even worse as director, abandoning atmospherics with a thoughtfulness that, no matter how effective during the occasions in which actual material kicks in, dries things out punishingly, with a dullness that is aggravating enough when von Trier doesn't place pretense into what atmosphere there is. I suppose von Trier's ambition is mostly charming, as it's not like the uniqueness and inspired highlights aren't worth respecting, but on the whole, von Trier tries too hard to do little, and that's challenging, maybe not to the point of destroying the film, but certainly to the point of rendering the final product mightily misguided. Overall, the performances are convincing and the script and subject matter are often intriguing in their uniqueness and occasional effectiveness, while stylistic and atmospheric highlights to direction secure glimpses of a more decent film, ultimately lost in the wake of questionable technical value, storytelling and characterization which, all behind a tediously draggy and dryly, if not somewhat pretentiously told narrative, drive Lars von Trier's "The Idiots" into mediocrity as a refreshing, but artistically misguided bore. 2.25/5 - Mediocre
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2012
    The idiots is Lars von Trier's shocking black comedy, which is also his first attempt at Dogma 95. The idiots explored the eccentricity of a group of adults in their protest of the responsibilities they need to make as adults. The humour is too crude for my taste. It felt like porn at some stages, but I can honestly say it's the paramount of experimental films. I don't think I can look at Denmark again the same way after this film.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2012
    The cinematic equivalent of a knife in your gut. The Idiots is altogether a complex, maddening, devastating, kaleidoscopic one-of-a-kind viewing experience. Compared to its more triumphant film-brother Festen, this is an underrated Dogme 95 work that lobs a searing, scathing critique to society, Hollywood and sanitised audience expectations.
    Janno D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2011
    Lars Von Trier's "The Idiots" was the second feature made under the prickly "Dogme 95" manifesto, which dictates severe limitations such as on-location shooting, hand-held camera, no extravagant action and purely diegetic music (this film's only score is some lonely quotes from Saint-Saens, played on what sounds like one-finger accordion). The rules obviously don't forbid letting the boom mike slip into the frame, however -- this happens countless times here. Such factors would make any movie rather rough and inaccessible, but the premise of "The Idiots" is amply abrasive on its own. A troop of twentysomething rebels go around twitching and mugging like mentally disabled misfits, enjoying the public embarrassment they cause. Seemingly, this represents some sort of political protest -- they revel in the resulting freedom that they couldn't have otherwise? Such scenes are predictably hard to watch, and even go so far as one prankster letting a man take him to a urinal and hold his penis for him. And that's not the only explicit image -- there's also a tight shot of another actor's erection, a sustained view of thrusting sexual penetration and various other moments of casual nudity. Rest assured that none of this is remotely arousing. We experience these antics through the eyes of Karen, a withdrawn, fragile woman who has been newly lured into joining the group. She is not too likable (none of the characters are) but, eventually, the film gains some shape through filling in her background. If you think Harmony Korine is an overlooked genius, you will love "The Idiots." Otherwise, you'll find this an interesting experiment at best.
    Eric B Super Reviewer

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